MINSK, 9 September (BelTA) – In an interview with Russian mass media, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko talked about possible consequences of Belarus' withdrawal from the CSTO, BelTA has learned.
“Our weapons are from Russia. The withdrawal from the CSTO will mean that we will have to buy jets, helicopters, tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and guns not at Russia's domestic prices, but at the global prices and this only if Russia agrees to sell them. Russia would sell weapons, however if they suggest joining NATO, you know what their demands will be: the weapons should be from NATO, too. What will they send here? Some junk to begin with. Later on they might allow you to buy something, but it will be five times more expensive compared with prices offered by Russia. Will this be an army worth its name? It will not,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.
The head of state emphasized that if Belarus decides to withdraw from the CSTO and join NATO, Russians will be highly concerned about it, because “it feels uncomfortable to have tanks near Smolensk”. “Russia will do everything to prevent it from happening. What will we turn Belarus into? Into the center of hostilities between Russia and NATO,” the president said.
Proposals to withdraw from the CSTO were part of the program of the Belarusian opposition. This program was deleted shortly after its publication, the head of state noted. They also suggested limiting the use of the Russian language in Belarus.
“We communicate with you in the Russian language. I constantly use the Russian language and I made it clear in my address a year or two ago. Vladimir Putin saw this address, quoted it to me and thanked me for what I said about the Russian language. I said: Hold on, what are you thanking me for? He answered: No other country has such an attitude to the Russian language. I responded: There is no need to thank me for that. The Russian language is also my language. This is the official language in Belarus, by the way,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said commenting on his stance regarding this matter.